a sense of entitlement

i posted this before, but i want to post it again. it’s about modern rural egypt which is very tribal:

Development and Social Change in Rural Egypt (1986), pgs. 150-51:

“The importance that poor peasants attach to the brokerage services by a single wealthy patron can be seen in the continuing importance of the extended family unit in rural Egypt. In the village of El-Diblah [pseudonymous village representative of upper egypt], as well as other Egyptian communities, politics and much of life itself are organized on the basis of large, extended families numbering 500 members or more. These extended families are broad patrilineal structures, which may or may not be able to trace themselves back to a single historical founder. While these extended families do not represent monolithic social structures, most fellahin are animated by a real feeling of belonging to a particular extended family unit. When they need a loan or help with outside government officials, poor peasants will often turn to the leader or a prominent person within their extended family. In the village of El-Diblah three of the four leading extended families are headed by rich peasants. In the eyes of most fellahin, this is exactly as it should be. In the countryside wealth acquired by virtually any means provides a good indication of an individual’s ability to deal with (or against) the ouside world.

‘Zaghlul,’ for example, is the rich peasant head of one of the leading extended families in El-Diblah. A short, wiry 55-year-old fellah, whose dress and mannerisms are almost indistinguishable from those of other peasants in the village, Zaghlul now owns about 25 feddans of land. Much of this land is planted in sugar cane, a crop that he uses to supply his own cane press that produces black molasses for local sale. As the owner of 25 feddans of land, and the proprietor of one of the few ‘manufacturing’ enterprises in the village, Zaghlul is able to dispense a wide number of agricultural and non-agricultrual work opportunities to favored members of his extended family. Many of the poorer members of his extended family live in a mud-brick settlement surrounding Zaghlul’s modern two-story, red-brick house. In the evenings a steady stream of these poor people come to Zaghlul’s house, seeking brokerage and intercessionary services (for example, help in securing agricultural inputs and medical services from the government)….”
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and now here’s something about modern rural china which is very clannish:

Rural China: Economic And Social Change In The Late Twentieth Century, pg. 235:

“Private entrepreneurs are not generally unpopular in villages and peasants do not dislike and envy them everywhere. They attempt to hide their wealth and feel that they are politically without much influence…. Normally, however, private entrepreneurs are integrated in rural communities by guanxi and family relationships, particularly where functioning clans exist. Preconditions for this integration are that they do not use their financial power against the community but for its profit and that their immediate social neighborhood shares in their wealth. Certainly, they take great care not to show off, as they want to protect themselves against being asked for donations by offices or individuals, against acts of envy and revenge by poor, unsuccessful families, and against criminality….

When private entrepreneurs let the community share in their wealth, their prestige grows and official as well as individual envy decreases. Such obligations are nothing new. It is tradition in peasant societies that there are customary obligations vis-a-vis village communities. It is expected that wealthy village residents and clan members share part of their means with members of these groups or with the entire village and support them in case of need. This moral tradition, called by Scott the ‘moral economy of the peasants,’ is still alive.
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The Moral Economy of the Peasant. not available on google books. d*mn!

what these two clannish/tribal groups above appear to have in common — at least one thing anyway — is that those on the lower rungs of the clan/tribe feel that they are entitled to receive assistance from those on the higher rungs of the clan/tribe.

i mentioned this before wrt intelligence. if this is a typical pattern of clannish/tribal societies, then perhaps this brings down, or holds down, the average iqs of such population since the not-so-smart are helped along to have a successful life (including reproducing) by the smarter members of their extended families. it’s certainly the opposite sort of pattern outlined by gregory clark in A Farewell to Alms in which self-reliant individuals and their nuclear families had to make it on their own using all those middle-class values.

but what about a sense of entitlement being selected for? imagine that the pattern of clever clansmen aiding not-so-clever clansmen goes on for many, many generations. and imagine that, in addition to the clever clansmen, those not-so-clever clansmen who asked for/expected help from above the most were the most successful in reproducing. you’d think that it wouldn’t take that long for feelings of entitlement to be pretty common in the population.

which populations out there seem to have the strongest senses of entitlement? which don’t? how about which ethnic groups in america do/don’t? i’m sure the awesome epigone and/or the inductivist have a relevant post or two, but i can’t recall any off the top of my head right now.

*update 08/14: see also a sense of entitlement ii

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egyptian presidential election results

*update below.*

here are the results as they stand today for the egyptian presidential election, but i do believe there are some disputes in the air so these may not be the final results (click on map for LARGER view).

mursi = the muslim brotherhood guy
shafiq = former member of mubarak’s government – secularist military guy
sabbahi – secularist, socialist, nasserist guy.
– i dunno who the other two candidates are.

so the muslim brotherhood candidate did best in the upper egypt governorates (blue); the military candidate (former member of mubarak’s government) did best in lower egypt – in the delta governorates – and luxor (red); and the socialist guy did best in urban areas (cairo, alexandria, port said) and the red sea governorate (purple).

check out the mating patterns for egypt (see previous post for the numbers on the inbreeding levels.):

– upper egypt (medium gray) = muslim brotherhood = most inbreeding. mursi carried all of the upper egypt governorates.

– lower egypt (light gray) = secular military mubarak guy = middle amount of inbreeding. shafiq carried five of the nine lower egypt governorates. two of the remaining ones went for the muslim brotherhood guy, one (kafr al sheikh) went for the nasserist guy, and one for one of the other candidates.

– urban areas (lightest gray) = secular socialist guy = least amount of inbreeding. sabbahi carried three of the four urban governorates (cairo, alexandria and port said).

i’m not saying there’s a direct connection between the mating patterns and the election results, but there’s clearly some sort of relationship.

meanwhile: Activist finds Sabbahi ballots in sugar cane bushes

previously: mating patterns in egypt and voting patterns and clans in egypt
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update: see also Egyptian tribal leaders no longer command the votes of their clans

interesting! i wonder: 1) if this is true; 2) if it is, how prevelent it is; 3) if it will stick.

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voting patterns and clans in egypt

so the elections are underway in egypt. i wish them luck (i really mean that!).

i quoted this article (now behind a paywall) once before, mostly ’cause i thought the guy being interviewed was pretty funny:

Key Clans Hold Sway in Egypt Elections

“TOMIYA, Egypt — In this rural hamlet 100 miles southwest of Cairo, farmers turn their fields with ox-pulled plows and ferry their daily harvest to market on carts pulled by swaybacked donkeys. Nine months after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, this village’s politics remain similarly stuck in a previous era.

“Here, as in much of rural Egypt, two political forces appear poised to dominate Monday’s parliamentary vote, just as they have for much of the past century: the Muslim Brotherhood and a small clique of powerful families, feudal landowners with longstanding ties to the former ruling party and security services….

Tribe, family, and religion — this is how people vote here,’ said Micheil Fayek, a candidate in Fayoum governorate, which includes Tomiya, for the liberal-leaning, but pro-military Wafd Party….

“At sunset, on the eve of Monday’s vote, a group of local farmers sat sucking on a water pipe on the roadside near Tomiya. Asked what they thought of their local candidates, they named the Muslim Brotherhood candidates and, like everyone here, candidate Yussuf Abu Talab, whose father and grandfather have represented the district in parliament for as long as anyone can remember. The rest of the ballot was a mystery to them.

“‘Abu Talab’s father was very powerful, anything you needed, he would give you,’ said one of the farmers, Taha Abu Shaaban, 40 years old. ‘He was in the ruling party, but the people loved him….’

“The likes of Mr. Abu Talab, whose family owns the vast swaths of farmland these men all toil each day, are old political hands, masters of Egypt’s rough and tumble and often corrupt electoral politics. Mr. Abu Talab couldn’t be reached for comment. But Moataz Mahmoud, the head of the Hurriya (Freedom) Party he is running with said that such well-known figures such as Mr. Talab around Egypt are expected to win seats because they have a long history of looking after their constituents.

“Though these elections look poised to be freer and fairer than past Egyptian elections, the same dirty tricks that have been fixtures of past elections are already evident.

“Mr. Fayek, the Wafd Party candidate, said he has been approached by a number of paid vote bundlers who muster a chunk of guaranteed votes in exchange for cash. In Fayoum, Mr. Fayek said he had received offers from such hustlers to sell 1,000 vote bundles for between LE50 and LE100 ($10 and $20) a vote, with results guaranteed by cell phone pictures of the checked ballot snapped by each voter inside the voting booth.

“That the Muslim Brotherhood is expected to make a strong showing in these elections has never been in doubt. But the role of these powerful families has received comparatively little attention and could end up being a strong and unpredictable force in the next parliament, giving it a more counterrevolutionary hue than many democracy activists hoped….

‘Egyptian Election is based on individuals with strong tribal and family connections rather than on ideologies or programs of parties, and the only exception to this is the Islamist voters,’ said Mr. Mahmoud, the head of the Hurriya Party, which includes ex-Mubarak regime members from around the country and who is also a candidate from a prominent family from southern Egypt. ‘It doesn’t it matter if I was a part of the ruling regime. Even if I was a member of the Israeli Likud, I would still win.’
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see? funny. (^_^)

here’s how elections and voting normally work in clannish egypt (although i’m not sure how applicable this is to the presidential voting that they’re doing today in egypt — the following is more about how parliamentarian elections work). from Development and Social Change in Rural Egypt [pgs. 150, 151-54]:

“The unequal distribution of economic resources in the El-Diblah district [pseudonymous district representative of upper or southern egypt] means that political relations in the area are dominated by one type of relationship: the patron-client relationship. Rich peasant patrons, who own over ten feddans of land, remain the principal source of employment, credit and brokerage services for the large number of poor peasants in the district. To be sure, the gradual reduction in the size of rich peasant landholdings means that many wealthy patrons no longer possess the monopoly of resources needed to permanently support their poor peasant clients. In most cases poor peasants seeking wage labor must now circulate between several rich patrons in order to survive. Yet the majority of these poor peasants still look to one particular wealthy patron for brokerage and intercessionary services with the government. By effectively mediating the demands of their poor peasant clients with the outside political world, rich peasant patrons can dominate political life at the local level….

“It is possible to examine the local-level powers wielded by rich peasant patrons like Zaghlul in terms of two broad patterns of political dynamics. These two patterns related to the ‘big-man small-boy’ syndrome identified by Robert Price in his analysis of political culture in Ghana. Price draws a sharp distinction between big men and small boys: ‘Big men are those of social weight, worth and responsibility; while small boys are, like children, of little consequence in the affairs of the community. Big men are expected to make decisions, give orders and look after the material well-being of their social inferiors. In turn, small boys are expected to exhibit unquestioning obedience and obsequious public deference toward big men’ (1974: 175).

“While villagers in the El-Dibah district do not explicitly differentiate between big men and small boys, these two terms bear a striking resemblance to the actual manner in which they view political reality. Villagers expect aspiring political leaders to seek positions in accordance with their acknowledged social status and worth. This means that rich peasant patrons or big men seek positions at the upper levels of Egyptian government, especially in the National Assembly. However, small peasants or small boys, who are the obsequious clients of big men, serve on the relatively insignificant elected councils that have been created in recent years at the village, district and governorate levels….

“The whole modus operandi of National Assembly (Parliamentary) elections favors the selection of big men. For example, a total of ten candidates participated in the 1979 parliamentary election in the El-Diblah district. According to informants, only three of these candidates were ‘serious’ contenders for the two paliamentary seats from the district. Two of these candidates were prominent rich peasants; the third was the scion of a leading extended family in the area. During the weeks immediately preceding the election these candidates did absolutely no public campaigning. The only campaigning that occurred took place between the big men themselves. The leading candidates, and their supporters, spent most of their time visiting village headmen and extended family leaders in the area. In the words of one local politico, ‘No one spends much time distributing campaign material around here because not all that many villagers can read. Most of the muwazzafin will vote for the [government] party candidates, while the fellahin who vote will vote as their ‘umdas and family leaders tell them to.’

In the El-Diblah district a successful paliamentary candidate typically campaigns by distributing ‘vote money’ to the headmen of smaller villages, and to the heads of leading extended families in larger areas. Depending on the financial resources of the candidate, a village headman or family leader may receive between £E100 and £E400 (U.S. $143 and $572 [in 1986, h. chick]). These rich peasant leaders are then expected to distribute their vote money among the client members of their village or family unit in order to deliver as many votes as possible to the candidate.

“The practical dynamics of this method of campaigning can be seen by referring to the case history of ‘Ahmed,’ one of the successful candidates in the 1979 parliamentary election in El-Diblah. In the eyes of most villagers, Ahmed is the personification of a big man. His family owns about 90 feddans of land, including the largest grape vineyard in the area. His father served in the Egyptian Parliament in the 1950s, and Ahmed himself has represented the El-Diblah district in the National Assembly for the past 12 years. Ahmed’s brother is the headman of a key village in the district, and he is also related by marriage to several other headmen in the area. Thus, at election time Ahmed does not need to distribute vote money to many local village headmen since they are expected, on the basis of kinship ties, to deliver the votes of their villages to him. During the last couple of parliamentary elections, however, Ahmed has given ‘vote money’ to two of the four family leaders in the village of El-Diblah. These family leaders have responded by delivering to Ahmed the votes of their extended family units. The staunch opposition of other family leaders in the village of El-Diblah presents Ahmed with no particular problem. While women in the area have the right to vote, but rarely exercise it, Ahmed has seen to it that all of the women in his village are registered to vote. Since women here vote as their husbands do, through this little strategem Ahmed has been able to effectively ‘double’ his vote output, and so to overcome the opposition of certain family leaders in El-Diblah.

“To many poor peasants Ahmed’s conspicuous use of ‘vote money’ during parliamentary elections serves only to confirm his status as a big man. Egyptian peasants expect such a demonstration of big-man worth during parliamentary campaigns, because they widely suspect that the main motivation for seeking such a leadership post is that of personal gain. Peasants believe that big men such as Ahmed have achieved their wealth and prominence by one of two means, inheritance or theft. While the fellahin find theft reprehensible, they do not find it completely intolerable as long as the personal aggrandizement of their elected officials provides them with an occasional share of the spoils.

“In Ahmed’s case service in the National Assembly has indeed provided peasants with what may be termed a ‘politics of largesse’ (Hyden 1980: 90). While his powers at the national level are quite circumscribed, at the local level Ahmed has become an effective ‘gatekeeper’ over the flow of national resources into his district. He has, for example, played an important role in determining the location of certain social services in the area: schools, warehouses and consumer cooperatives. Through this process Ahmed has been able to reward his followers through the creation of new jobs, new titles, and perhaps most importantly, new means of graft. In El-Diblah, as well as other rural areas, easy access to government warehouses and cooperatives provides villagers with the chance to purchase (or pilfer) those government-subsidized products (for example, wood, iron, meat) that can be sold for a handsome profit on the black market.”
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any and all analyses of the egyptian political situation that you (we) get via western newspapers and media sources will be seriously lacking in insight if they don’t take into account the role of extended families and clans at really every level of egyptian society including the political. and they don’t usually include this, so we really don’t understand what the h*ck is happening there.

here are a few more tidbits about voting patterns and clans in egypt:

Onetime Mubarak foes move closer to power as Egyptians vote again
January 03, 2012

“There were indications in some provinces, especially in tribal areas, that former members of Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party might win a number of seats. The party has been disbanded but its onetime members have benefited from clan and family allegiances that heavily influence voting preferences….”
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Egypt votes in third round of elections
03 Jan 2012

“‘Overwhelmingly we are hearing people tell us that they will be voting for the Salafi Nour party or the Ikhwan, the Muslim Brotherhood’s party Freedom and Justice, so it’s very much a lot of grassroots support for the Islamist parties here,’ Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros reported from El-Arish, in the northern Sinai Peninsula.

“‘When it comes to the individual candidates, people are not talking to us about policy and issue and what the individual candidates stand for; it is very much on tribal and clan lines, that’s how people are voting here….‘”
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Tribes and Elections in Upper Egypt

One of the central features of politics and elections in the southern part of Egypt is the tribal organization. In many areas, tribes have for the past decades had a decisive influence on elections and their outcome. During the upcoming elections this power is going to be challenged by the new political parties, but the question is whether they will be able to overcome the already well-established system.

From south of Cairo to the most southern city of Aswan, tribes are central for the political process and important to take into account when discussing elections. In some areas tribal influence is so strong that no one will think about elections without thinking about tribal alliances and tribal politics. In these areas, elections are not seen as a competition between parties and political ideas, but as the tribe of Ababdah against the tribe of Ja’afra – to mention two of the larger tribes in the most southern parts of Egypt….

The tribes are essentially to be understood as very large extended families that are distinct politically, but not culturally, from their neighbors….

“That the tribes constitute a political force has been the case during all times, but it seems as if their importance as political entities has been strengthened during the last decades….

“That tribalism has been revitalized within the past decades is something people testify to. Earlier, one would hear older people say that tribes had grown less important. During the years of Gamal Abd al-Nasser, when the Egyptian government promoted an ideology of equality and Arab Socialism, the idea that some people should have a specific status due to their pedigree was in conflict with the ideology. The existence of tribes or ‘clans’ in Upper Egypt was seen as reflecting a backwardness that the Free Officers were trying to curtail. To many, citizenship in a modern state does not fit with the notion of tribes, which in principle encroaches upon the relationship between the individual and the state and creates opposing fields of loyalty.

“During the era of Anwar Sadat and especially the former president Hosny Mubarak, the idea of tribalism, of emphasizing the importance of one’s pedigree, once again became legitimate and got official approval….”
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previously: mating patterns in egypt and family type in egypt and corporations and collectivities

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mating patterns in egypt

in family type in egypt, i hinted that inbreeding in egypt is greater in southern or upper egypt than in northern or lower egypt. now i’m going to show you the proof. PROOF i tell you! (^_^)

every few years, egypt conducts a demographic and health survey (so do a lot of other countries — thanks to us, i think). the egyptians, very thoughtfully, collect data on consanguineous mating patterns, i.e. first- and second-cousin marriages. here are the most recent egypt dhs surveys from 2000, 2005 and 2008 [all pdfs]. and here is a chart of the consanguineous (first- and second-cousin) marriage rates for four regions of egypt: urban governorates, lower egypt (delta) governorates, upper egypt (nile valley) governorates, and frontier (border regions) governorates (see list at bottom of post for which ones are which):

and here’s a map of those four regions:

the first thing you’ll notice is that egyptians marry their cousins a LOT. much more than americans or most europeans (esp. nw europeans). even in 2008, in cairo or alexandria nearly one in every four (23.2%) of all marriages were between people who were first- or second-cousins. and it was practically double that (41.2%) upriver in upper egypt. so, there’s a lot of cousin marriage in egypt — and much more in the south than in the north (told ya!)

the inbreeding rates have been decreasing over the last couple of decades, though. here is a chart of just the first-cousin marriage rates for pre-1991 (don’t ask me what that means – that’s all my source said), 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2008:

so, you know, just one generation ago, first-cousin marriage rates were twice as frequent in egypt as they are today. the decline is good news maybe, but keep in mind what the very recent high rates might mean for the frequencies and distribution of “genes for altruism” in the egyptian population. things don’t just change overnight.

father’s brother’s daughter (fbd) marriage is pretty popular in egypt. in 2008, nearly ten percent of all marriages were between the children of two brothers. there’s more fbd marriage in rural areas than in urban areas:

in Family in Contemporary Egypt [available on questia], andrea rugh says that the shift away from marrying cousins by urbanites began “about a generation ago.” rugh’s work was published in 1984, so she’s talking about sometime in the ’60s or maybe late-’50s. that means that nowadays there’s a good two or three generations of urban egyptians — not the recently arrived ones from the countryside, but people whose families have lived in the cities for several or maybe scores(!) of generations — that are now relatively outbred, certainly compared to most other people in the country. from rugh [pg. 140]:

“Among the middle classes and élites there is evidence that relative marriage persisted as a common form until the present generation of young people [i.e. in 1984 – hbd chick]. Until the 1952 revolution and the extension of education to the masses of Egypt’s population, there was little to interfere with the family as a key socializing institution. Those who received private educations did so in carefully sex-segregated institutions, along with their sisters or brothers, cousins, and well-screened others of the same social classes. Leisuretime socializing took place in the family courtyards or apartments of relatives. Parents exerted much stronger controls over whom their children met than they do now. Middle-aged and older people of those classes almost universally comment on how restricted their access to the opposite sex was, beyond those individuals of the extended family group with whom almost their whole time was spent.

Family genealogies of these classes are filled with kin and sibling marriages up until about a generation ago when, in an impressive reversal, stranger marriages replaced them in the vast majority of cases. This phenomenon to a large extent reflects the changing degree of parental control among these social classes. Young people now have greater freedom of movement, rationalized as noted by the increasing importance of extended education. Controls now are vested less in overt mechanisms such as confinement and protection (seen in chaperonage and veiling) and more in internalized ‘nice-girl’ constructs (see Chapter 9) which individuals implement to a large extent by themselves.”

interesting.

rugh also found [pgs. 143-45] that father’s brother’s daughter marriage was more common amongst the lower classes in rural areas than urban areas. amongst the lower classes in urban areas, fbd marriage was still the most common form of cousin marriage, but mother’s sister’s marriage was also quite popular.

how long have egyptians been marrying their cousins or otherwise inbreeding or marrying endogamously?

well, certainly fbd marriage was most probably introduced when islam arrived in the country, i.e. from sometime after the seventh century a.d. so that’s, at the max, a possible 1600 years of fbd marriage — an interesting, quirky twist in history since that’s just about the length of time nw europeans have been outbreeding.

were egyptians inbreeding before that? hard to say. it seems like a good guess ’cause most peoples in the world have tended to inbreed one way or another. from the third century a.d. until the arrival of islam, most egyptians had been christians. but afaik, none of the christian churches started with this whole cousin marriage ban thing until the roman catholic church did in the 400s.

the ethiopian coptic ban on cousin marriage out to sixth cousins originated from something written by an egyptian copt in 1240 a.d. is that when egyptian copts began to avoid cousin marriage? if so, then they seem to have missed out on the roman catholic church’s revisions of its regulations in 1215 a.d. which pushed the ban from sixth cousins back to just third cousins.

on the other hand, perhaps the copts didn’t like that reversal and so in 1240 decided to re-emphasize their already existing sixth cousin ban. it’s possible. don’t know. just a guess. the timing seems awfully coincidental otherwise: 1215 a.d. -> changes in roman catholic church’s marriage regulations removing the sixth cousin marriage ban; a few years later in 1240 a.d. -> written proscriptions against sixth cousin marriage by the coptic church. hmmmm.

speaking of copts, i read something, somewhere that said that egyptian copts, today, prefer second-cousin marriage to first-cousin marriage, but i’ll be d*mned if i can remember where i read that. can’t find that reference, so don’t believe me! (i don’t.)

and i know what you’re gonna say: way back when egyptians married their siblings (ewwww!) just like the pharohs. actually, they probably didn’t. but that’s material for another post. this one’s way too long already anyway. (^_^)

previously: family type in egypt and corporations and collectivities and aígyptos
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update 05/13: sounds to me as though, by the eleventh century a.d., copts in egypt had adopted the practice of marrying their cousins from their muslim overlords. at the very least, the coptic church at this time does not seem to have had a ban on cousin marriage.

here from “Regulating sex – A brief survey of medieval Copto-Arabic canons” in Across the Religious Divide – Women, Property, and Law in the Wider Mediterranean (ca. 1300-1800) [pgs. 29-30]:

“For Cyril [II] and Ibn Turayk, clergy are strictly forbidden from cohabiting with a woman, unless she falls under the category of one who is forbidden to him (muharrama). In his sixth canon, Cyril writes:

“‘It is not permitted to a bishop, or a priest, or deacon, or layman to live with a woman at all, unless it be a mother, or a sister, or a paternal aunt, or a maternal aunt who are forbidden to him. Whoever gainsay this, judgment for disobedience is necessary for him….’

“In the case of Cyril’s canon, it seems that no man (cleric or lay) should cohabit with a woman other than those ‘who are forbidden to him’ (tuharram ‘alayhi)….

“While there are parallels between both Cyril’s and Ibn Turayk’s canons and the Latern Council canon (which is actually a reference to a Nicene Council canon), there is also an important parallel between the Copto-Arabic canons and Islamic jurisprudential vocabulary. The Arabic words that Cyril and Ibn Turayk use to describe the category of forbidden women (Cyril uses form V’s tuharram a’layhi, and Ibn Turayk uses the plural passive participle muharramat) are borrowed from Islamic jurisprudence; the definition of this category may be understood from the Qur’anic verse found in Surat al-Nisa:

“‘Forbidden unto you are your mothers, and your daughters, and your sisters, and your father’s sisters, and your mother’s sisters, and your brother’s daughters and your sister’s daughters, and your foster-mothers, and your foster-sisters, and your mothers-in-law, and your step-daughters who are under your protection (born) of your women unto whom ye have gone in — but if ye have not gone in unto them, then it is no sin for you (to marry their daughters) — and the wives of your sons who (spring) from your own loins. And (it is forbidden unto you) that ye should have two sisters together, except what hath already happened (of that nature) in the past….'”

pope cyril ii was around from 1078-1092. his canon on which women were forbidden to men does not include any cousins, and it quite parallels what is written in the koran.
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governorates breakdown:

urban governorates – cairo, alexandria, suez, port said.
lower egypt (delta) governorates – beheira, kafr el-sheikh, gharbia, monufia, damietta, dakahlia, sharqia, qalyubia, ismailia.
upper egypt (nile valley) governorates – giza, faiyum, beni suef, minya, asyut, sohag, qena, aswan.
frontier (border) governorates – matruh, new valley, north sinai, south sinai, red sea.

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family type in egypt

todd says the egyptian family type is his ‘endogamous community family’ type (by endogamous he means that the children of brothers marry):

– cohabitation of married sons with their parents
– equality between brothers established by inheritance rules
– frequent marriage between the children of brothers
– arab world, turkey, iran, afghanistan, pakistan, azerbaijan, turkmenistan, uzbekistan, tadzhikistan
– islam

from what i’ve read so far, that seems more-or-less right. one important point, though: the extended family seems to be more important the further south you go in egypt. the extended family is still important today in lower egypt, in and around cairo and the delta, but it’s really important in upper egypt to the point where one should really be talking in terms of clans and/or tribes — tribes especially with the nubians in the south and the bedouins in peripheral areas.

there’s a reason for this difference which i’ll talk more about in a follow up post, but you can already guess what it is: inbreeding/endogamous mating happens at much greater frequencies in southern egypt and in the frontier governorates than in the delta region. simple.

there are a couple of other exceptions to todd’s classification of the egyptian family type — the actual structures on the ground are not a perfect fit with todd’s description — for instance which members of the extended family tend to live in egyptian households seems to be more flexible than todd’s definition — but, still, i think he’s generally right. these are, indeed, endogamous community families.

here are some interesting excerpts from a couple of sources related to the importance of the extended family in egypt:

African Families at the Turn of the 21st Century (2006), pgs. 57-58:

“In urban and rural areas the importance of family for women and men remains central to their lives….

For most Egyptians some version of the extended family still plays a crucial role in their day-to-day existence. Contrary to modernization theory with respect to family development, extended families have not lost their appeal or importance. Most people attempt to live near their parents, siblings, cousins, or grandparents, should they still be alive, and maintain an active relationship with many of their relatives. It is important to note that extended family households which are often found in Egypt do not follow the traditional patterns in which geneaologically related persons of two generations live together or in which married siblings form one household. Rather, extended families are based on the incorporation of unmarried relatives into a family. Widows, divorcees (especially those with no children), and bachelors do not live separately and would be stigmatized should they make this choice. Further, unmarried sons or daughters live with their parents until marriage, irrespective of age. After divorce or the death of a spouse, both men and women, especially if they do not have children, are expected to return to their parents if they are still alive; otherwise they are supposed to live with a brother, sister, or other relatives. Another popular extended family pattern is the one in which a child is ‘borrowed’ by a relative with no children of his or her own. Among lower-class people one tends to find this phenomenon more often among grandparents who need the assistance of a child for housework. Among more well-to-do families, an uncle or aunt will offer to take care of a sibling’s children for an extended time period, primarily for sentimental reasons or because the biological parents already have other pressing obligations such as an extended leave abroad.

“Another common middle- and lower-class family pattern found in Egypt is the incorporation of nonrelatives, such as apprentices and work assistants, into a particular household. Such individuals have a special position, because even though not all of them sleep in the house of their employer, their food and laundry is part of the household. Upper-middle- and upper-class families are characterized by the presence of domestic servants who may or may not live in the household. Often domestic live-in servants will come from the family’s natal village, even if the family has not lived there for several generations.

that last group of people, the live-in servants from the family’s natal village, might often be distant relatives to the family for whom they work.
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“Positivity in the Middle East: Developing Hope in Egyptian Organizational Leaders”
Advances in Global Leadership, Volume 4 (2006), pg. 281:

“Cultural collectivism dominates the Egyptian society, with extended families and family ties being very important. Children normally live with their parents until they get married, and sometimes even share their parents’ place after they get married due to their tight economic resources and the scarcity of affordable housing. Children are expected to support their parents at old age. However, this collectivism does not necessarily translate into patriotism. People may be loyal to their immediate families, to their extended families, to their neighbors, and to their friends and acquaintances, but not necessarily to their political leaders and current situation…. Sabotaging public transportation seats, writing on building walls, littering, breaking traffic lights, and other destructive behaviors are commonplace by children and adults alike. This behavior usually extends to the workplace, where personal abuse of business resources takes place, and in most cases even accepted as the norm.”
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this final excerpt describes the situation in upper or southern egypt, i.e. where there is greater inbreeding:

Development and Social Change in Rural Egypt (1986), pgs. 150-51:

“The importance that poor peasants attach to the brokerage services by a single wealthy patron can be seen in the continuing importance of the extended family unit in rural Egypt. In the village of El-Diblah [pseudonymous village representative of upper egypt], as well as other Egyptian communities, politics and much of life itself are organized on the basis of large, extended families numbering 500 members or more. These extended families are broad patrilineal structures, which may or may not be able to trace themselves back to a single historical founder. While these extended families do not represent monolithic social structures, most fellahin are animated by a real feeling of belonging to a particular extended family unit. When they need a loan or help with outside government officials, poor peasants will often turn to the leader or a prominent person within their extended family. In the village of El-Diblah three of the four leading extended families are headed by rich peasants. In the eyes of most fellahin, this is exactly as it should be. In the countryside wealth acquired by virtually any means provides a good indication of an individual’s ability to deal with (or against) the ouside world.

“‘Zaghlul,’ for example, is the rich peasant head of one of the leading extended families in El-Diblah. A short, wiry 55-year-old fellah, whose dress and mannerisms are almost indistinguishable from those of other peasants in the village, Zaghlul now owns about 25 feddans of land. Much of this land is planted in sugar cane, a crop that he uses to supply his own cane press that produces black molasses for local sale. As the owner of 25 feddans of land, and the proprietor of one of the few ‘manufacturing’ enterprises in the village, Zaghlul is able to dispense a wide number of agricultural and non-agricultrual work opportunities to favored members of his extended family. Many of the poorer members of his extended family live in a mud-brick settlement surrounding Zaghlul’s modern two-story, red-brick house. In the evenings a steady stream of these poor people come to Zaghlul’s house, seeking brokerage and intercessionary services (for example, help in securing agricultural inputs and medical services from the government)….

previously: “l’explication de l’idéologie” and corporations and collectivities

update: see also mating patterns in egypt and corporations and collectivities

(note: comments do not require an email. three fellahs.)

what egyptians want ii

according to a new survey from pew:

“Egyptians also want Islam to play a major role in society, and most believe the Quran should shape the country’s laws, although a growing minority expresses reservations about the increasing influence of Islam in politics….

“When asked which country is the better model for the role of religion in government, Turkey or Saudi Arabia, 61% say the latter….”

“However, most also endorse specific democratic rights and institutions that do not exist in Saudi Arabia, such as free speech, a free press, and equal rights for women….

“There is no consensus among Egyptians as to whether American financial assistance to their country is primarily economic or military. A plurality (34%) believes the aid is mostly to help Egypt develop economically, while 23% say the aid is mostly military. Nearly three-in-ten (28%) believe it is divided equally between economic and military assistance, and 14% offer no opinion.

Both types of American aid are viewed negatively by Egyptians. About six-in-ten (61%) say U.S. military aid has a harmful influence on Egypt, while just 11% believe its impact is positive, and 25% say it has no impact. Similarly, 61% consider U.S. economic aid harmful, while the remainder of the public is split between positive views (21%) and the belief that the aid has no impact (17%)….

well, if they don’t want it….

i should ‘fess up right now that i have an inexplicable** soft spot for egypt and egyptians. i really do wish them well and hope it all works out for them as best as it can work out.

previously: what egyptians want and aígyptos

(note: comments do not require an email. **it’s got something to do with all this stuff.)

corporations and collectivities

i’ve been referring to western society — especially since the middle ages and forward — as being “corporate” in nature, i.e. that unrelated individuals in western societies tend to get together and form “corporate” sorts of groups, like guilds and mutual aid societies and even quite a few protestant churches, more than people in other societies do. this is as opposed to more family-based societies where social life and affairs are based on … yeah … the family — especially the extended family or clan or tribe. i thought i picked up the term “corporate” from avner greif [opens pdf], but he talks about “corporatism” and not strictly a society having a “corporate” nature, so i guess i sorta coined it myself (sorta) or got it from elsewhere.

anyway…

in Family in Contemporary Egypt [available on questia] by andrea rugh, the author uses the term “corporate” or “corporations” not to refer to the individualistic groupings in western society, which she calls “collectivities”, but to family-based societies instead. i’ll let her explain it [pgs. 32-34]:

“Corporateness is used here to define that sense the Egyptian has of the inviolability of his social groups, of their indivisible unity that persists regardless of the constituent members. The term is contrasted with the concept of collectivity which is meant to refer to the Western perception of groups as collections of individuals joining to achieve the common interests of the individual members. Within the collectivity individual rights supercede group rights and are only restricted where they may conflict with the rights of other individuals. It is the exception to discern in the collectivity any supra-individual rights that might devolve on the larger group. The individual is generally protected by legal rule or social custom from too great a tyranny of the group.

“In a corporation, the group comes first and the individuals are expected to sacrifice their own needs for the greater good of the group. The personal status of individual members is defined by the group and not more than incidentally by individual achievement. Individual behaviors are evaluated primarily by how they reflect on the group, the group taking the blame or the rewards for these behaviors. Personal lapses in behavior, if kept secret, are of little consequence; it is only their public acknowledgement and association with the lowering of group status that causes an individual a sense of shame and personal guilt.

“The collective view, by contrast, considers the individual on his own merits. He can excel or not live up to the expectations of his group without reflecting more than marginally on that group. The individual draws on the group for support in achieving his own status level. He can personally overcome the deficiencies of his group, and the world will recognize his achievements. Society, as a result, holds him responsible for developing his own potentialities and only in special cases of disadvantage accepts the view that his group might hinder this effort.

“A person holding a corporate view or a collective view organizes his life quite differently from one holding the opposing view. Each view is so deeply engrained in the cultural consciousness of a people [i would say in the biology of a people – h. chick] that it is difficult for people to stand outside their own cultural perspective and project themselves into the consciousness of those holding the opposing view. People conceive of their own world view as representing logic, common sense, and other valued characteristics, and, indeed, given the whole social system within which the world view functions, it *is* the view with the best ‘fit’ to provice coherence for the society as a whole.

“The following illustration demonstrates the conflict in world view that occurs when member of a society that is corporate-based are to comment on the principles of a collectively based society:

“‘An American literature class in an Egyptian University had just finished Thoreau’s ‘Walden’. The American professor had explained all the pertinent points of Thoreau’s return to nature, his attempt at realizing self-sufficiency, his strong sense of individualism. The class was clearly uncomfortable with what they had been reading and were having difficulty in putting the book into some sort of familiar perspective.

“‘”How do you feel about Thoreau, the man, and do you think that a life style like his would be appropriate in the Egyptian context?” the professor asked. Hands flew up and a number of answers came at once:

“‘”He is a miser–he lacks generosity.” The student based his comments on the lengthy accounting Thoreau made of all the materials he had bought to sustain himself in the woods. “What is the purpose of going off and living alone? What kind of life is that?” “Doesn’t he have any family? He doesn’t speak about them. How can he leave all his responsibilities behind like that?”

“‘The consensus of the class was that Thoreau was not accomplishing anything useful by his anti-social behavior; he had abrogated his role as a social being. He should in fact be considered “crazy” and would be so considered if he should try to live in this way in the Egyptian context. The concept of self-realization and self-reliance were totally lost on the students.’

“Individualism has little positive value in Egyptian society, and often is equated with a number of negative outcomes. As one student later commented: ‘Individualism leads to sexual license and social chaos since everyone is seeking his own ends.'”

whatever way you wanna use the words — corporate vs. family-based or collectivities vs. corporations — what matters here is that, broadly speaking, there are two different types of societies: individualistic and group oriented. and the group oriented societies are based, not on random groupings of individuals, but on extended families, clans and tribes. and you get varying degrees of all that by greater or lesser amounts of inbreeding; you get individualism by outbreeding.

one thing i’d really like the hbd-o-sphere to think about and understand even more, though, is what rugh said about the difficulties that the two types of peoples have in understanding one another:

“Each view is so deeply engrained in the cultural consciousness of a people that it is difficult for people to stand outside their own cultural perspective and project themselves into the consciousness of those holding the opposing view.”

it’s not just difficult for people to stand outside their own cultural persepctive to understand others — it’s difficult for people to stand outside their own biological natures to understand other peoples’ biological natures. and this applies to all areas of human biodiversity, not just the inbreeding/outbreeding thing.

it’s hard to understand other individuals or peoples, unless you try, which most people don’t. most people don’t even ever consider trying to view things from a totally different perspective than their own. they don’t and/or can’t imagine that other people might, on a very fundamental level, think and feel differently about life.

for instance, if you’re one of those people who can wait on eatin’ the marshmallow so that you can have two later (mmmmmm!), imagine that there are some people who can’t do that. it’s not just that they choose not to wait, they CAN’T. then imagine what they must think about people who do. it’s not easy for either side. (i suspect it’s easier for higher iq people to imagine how others experience the world — if they bother trying — but think about the legions of people with below average iqs….)

anyway. enough soapboxing. (^_^) different peoples are different. i know you know that already, but think about it some more anyway. that is all! (^_^)
_____

update: a couple of more passages from rugh [pgs. 281-82]:

“Corporateness has other social implications that can be discovered by reviewing some of the points made in earlier chapters….

First, group — most often family — becomes the bottom line for most kinds of social and economic organization. There is little use in talking about how an isolated individual copes in his socioeconomic environment since so much depends on the back-up support he commands….

Second, people feel a strong sense of who stands in a relation of outsider or insider, however they may momentarily define these categories. The zero-sum game, attributed to Egyptian social behavior, is based to a large extent on the sliding perception of who stands outside and who inside the group in any attempt to garner resources. Kin of varying degrees of distance can at different times fall in or outside the circle of alliance depending upon the activity at hand….

The villain for the individual Egyptian is almost always perceived as an outside aggressor rather than the Egyptian himself, his failings, or the failings of someone of his committed inner circle. This allows projection of problems on outside others rather than on introspective self-doubts or vital group members. The greater good requires that these kinds of deceptions be sustained by everyone concerned lest the solidarity of group be threatened. To combat the outside threat people seek to consolidate groups which can either strengthen life’s chances or spread life’s burdens. Limited and versatile groupings like the family are effective tools under these circumstances.

Third, confidence between people is based on trust which in turn is more likely to occur where structural relationships of group exist. The stronger the overlay of ties, jural and affective, the more confidence a person invests in another person. The jural ties of kinship are strongest, even without affective ties, for there is a strong moral obligation for kin to come to the aid of other kin, even when there have been no effective relationships between them over a long period of time…..”
_____

previously: mating patterns and the individual

update: see also family type in egypt and mating patterns in egypt

(note: comments do not require an email. diversity fail.)

why nations fail

thomas friedman likes the explanation of acemoglu (that’s turkish armenian!) and robinson:

“Nations thrive when they develop ‘inclusive’ political and economic institutions, and they fail when those institutions become ‘extractive’ and concentrate power and opportunity in the hands of only a few.

“‘Inclusive economic institutions that enforce property rights, create a level playing field, and encourage investments in new technologies and skills are more conducive to economic growth than extractive economic institutions that are structured to extract resources from the many by the few,’ they write….”

uh huh. ok.

so, how you gonna get these “inclusive” institutions up and running in a place like … oh … egypt? in other words, how do you get from point a (‘extractive’ institutions) to point b (‘inclusive’ institutions)? a&r suggest ‘just build it and they will come’:

“Why is Egypt so much poorer than the United States? What are the constraints that keep Egyptians from becoming more prosperous? Is the poverty of Egypt immutable, or can it be eradicated? A natural way to start thinking about this is to look at what the Egyptians themselves are saying about the problems they face and why they rose up against the Mubarak regime…. Egyptians and Tunisians both saw their economic problems as being fundamentally caused by their lack of political rights….

“To Egyptians, the things that have held them back include an ineffective and corrupt state and a society where they cannot use their talent, ambition, ingenuity, and what education they can get. But they also recognize that the roots of these problems are political. All the economic impediments they face stem from the way political power in Egypt is exercised and monopolized by a narrow elite. This, they understand, is the first thing that has to change….

“In this book we’ll argue that the Egyptians in Tahrir Square, not most academics and commentators, have the right idea. In fact, Egypt is poor precisely because it has been ruled by a narrow elite that have organized society for their own benefit at the expense of the vast mass of people. Political power has been narrowly concentrated, and has been used to create great wealth for those who possess it, such as the $70 billion fortune apparently accumulated by ex-president Mubarak. The losers have been the Egyptian people, as they only too well understand.

We’ll show that this interpretation of Egyptian poverty, the people’s interpretation, turns out to provide a general explanation for why poor countries are poor. Whether it is North Korea, Sierra Leone, or Zimbabwe, we’ll show that poor countries are poor for the same reason that Egypt is poor. Countries such as Great Britain and the United States became rich because their citizens overthrew the elites who controlled power and created a society where political rights were much more broadly distributed, where the government was accountable and responsive to citizens, and where the great mass of people could take advantage of economic opportunities. We’ll show that to understand why there is such inequality in the world today we have to delve into the past and study the historical dynamics of societies. We’ll see that the reason that Britain is richer than Egypt is because in 1688, Britain (or England, to be exact) had a revolution that transformed the politics and thus the economics of the nation. People fought for and won more political rights, and they used them to expand their economic opportunities. The result was a fundamentally different political and economic trajectory, culminating in the Industrial Revolution….

ok. i haven’t read (or, rather, listened) to this book — and i probably ain’t gonna — but i’ll betcha (*hbd chick rummages through her purse*) 98¢ and a bus token that these guys haven’t tried to figure out WHY in the seventeenth century the ENGLISH (note not ALL the peoples of britain) “fought for and won more political rights” which they then used “to expand their economic opportunities.” what was it about this particular group of people at this particular time that enabled them to join together en masse to demand greater political rights and freedoms for ALL the people (men) in the country?

why should the english in england and later in the americas behave so unlike nearly every other group on the planet and become all hot and bothered about the rights of individuals in society? why should they start to have screwy notions like ‘everybody is created equal’ and that each man (and, later, woman) is endowed with ‘unalienable rights’? and how on earth are we going to get the egyptians … and the north koreans and the sierra leoneans and the zimbabweans and everyone else … to act like the english? to rise up and demand political rights and to create all these inclusive institutions? to ALL work TOGETHER towards a COMMON goal.

because, surely, that must be the order required: to find out what made the english do what they did and then recreate those circumstances in all these other places.

apart from all the usual sorts of hbd characteristics required to produce an advanced society (like intelligence), you all know what i’m gonna say is needed. and my solution is not something that will work overnight.

and egyptians are a long, long way away from being anything like the english in terms of genetic relatedness to one another. nope. they are much more like the people in iraq who anthropologist robin fox described thusly [pg. 62]:

“For a start, there is no ‘Iraqi People.’ The phrase should be banned as misleading and purely rhetorical. Iraq as a ‘nation’ (like the ‘nation’ of Kuwait) was devised by the compasses and protractors of Gertrude Bell when the British and French divided up the Middle East in 1921. We know well enough the ethnic-religious division into Kurd, Sunni, and Shia. People who know very little else can rehearse that one (even if they do not really know the difference; the Kurds are Sunni, after all). But what is not understood is that Iraq, like the other countries of the region, still stands at a level of social evolution where the family, clan, tribe, and sect command major allegiance. The idea of the individual autonomous voter, necessary and commonplace in our own systems, is relatively foreign.

voting in egypt — also a society based on extended-families and clans — runs along clan-lines, too:

“‘Tribe, family, and religion—this is how people vote here,’ said Micheil Fayek, a candidate in Fayoum governorate, which includes Tomiya, for the liberal-leaning, but pro-military Wafd Party….

“‘Egyptian Election is based on individuals with strong tribal and family connections rather than on ideologies or programs of parties, and the only exception to this is the Islamist voters,” said Mr. Mahmoud, the head of the Hurriya Party, which includes ex-Mubarak regime members from around the country and who is also a candidate from a prominent family from southern Egypt. “It doesn’t it matter if I was a part of the ruling regime. Even if I was a member of the Israeli Likud, I would still win.’”

a&r’s solution to poverty in egypt is to simply get the egyptians to create inclusive institutions, but this will not work because, as things stand today, egyptian society is not structured on inclusive institutions. it is structured on exclusive families and clans which, unlike a rotary club, you can’t just join — you’ve got to be born into them. and egyptians are not going to give these up any time soon because they are just too inbred. oh, there are probably some rather outbred egyptian urbanites in cairo who are ready for a modern society based on liberal democracy (for what that’s worth), but most egyptians are not those people.

and most of the rest of the world is like iraq and egypt in one way or another. almost everywhere except, due to some curious twists of history, northwest europe.

most economists just don’t get it ’cause they don’t think of humans as biological creatures. i’m gonna write a book one day and i’m gonna title it: Why Economists Fail.

see also: Egypt’s families remain electoral forces to reckon with — really, don’t miss it!

previously: “hard-won democracy”

update 04/14: see also not the revolution they’re looking for

update 04/15: An association between the kinship and fertility of human couples

(note: comments do not require an email. eg. the abaza family of egypt.)